Handbook of Easy Languages in Europe
Editors: Camilla Lindholm and Ulla Vanhatalo
The Handbook of Easy Languages in Europe presents the history and the current status of Easy Languages in Europe. It describes what Easy Language is and how it is used in European countries.
The notion of Easy Language refers to modified forms of standard languages that aim to facilitate reading and language comprehension, resulting in, for example, Easy Slovenian, Easy Spanish, Easy French, or Easy Italian. Easy Languages have been adapted in terms of content, vocabulary, and structure to make them more readable and comprehensible. They are intended for people who have difficulties understanding standard language. Although the term Easy Language usually refers to various kinds of texts, spoken interactions can also be based on the principles of Easy Language.
Modern societies are completely based on linguistic constructions. All people, despite their limitations, have an equal right to information, inclusion, and social participation. This results in requirements for understandable language. Easy Language removes obstacles in the same way as a wheelchair ramp built next to stairs makes a building accessible.
This handbook describes the principles and practices of Easy Language in 21 European countries in 2020 and before. Each chapter follows essentially the same structure. The chapters take their point of departure from the history of Easy Language and accessible communication in a particular country. The historical background is followed by an overview of the current situation, dealing with topics such as terminological definitions, legal status, and stakeholders. Target groups, guidelines, and practical outcomes are discussed under their own subheadings. Education and research are presented together, and each chapter includes a final part in which the authors reflect on future perspectives related to Easy Language in their own countries. This handbook demonstrates the great diversity of actors, instruments and outcomes related to Easy Language throughout the European countries.
This Handbook of Easy Languages in Europe is the first attempt to study the position of easy and accessible language in Europe. Written in an academic yet interesting and understandable style, it aims to find a wide audience all over Europe.